The following news release is from the Ossining School District:
In the spirit of compromise, the voted unanimously last Wednesday to put a new, dramatically reduced capital improvements bond proposal before the voters on March 6th.
The proposal, which cuts nearly $30 million from the original plan, addresses only the district’s most critical infrastructure and program needs, and most important, keeps debt service at current levels. As a result, there will be no increase in taxes from current levels to support this project.
“With this proposal, we are striking a balance between those who wanted to do considerably more in the schools and those who sought to scale back the plan,” said Dr. Phyllis Glassman, superintendent of Ossining schools. “This plan is both educationally and fiscally responsible and preserves one of the community’s greatest resources, its schools.”
Bill Kress, president of the Board of Education, said “We are extremely grateful to the community members, both those who supported and those who opposed last spring’s proposal, for taking the time to share their priorities and concerns with us as we worked to develop this community compromise.”
In an era when private business, government agencies and even individual families are making do with less, this plan seeks to make the most of our existing buildings. To that end, the fifth grade will remain at Roosevelt School where administrative offices will be consolidated and moved to make room for additional classroom space. This eliminates the need for an expansion at Claremont, shaving $12.9 million from the plan.
At Anne M. Dorner Middle School, interior renovations such as consolidating locker rooms, the library and the front office, will allow for the creation of six additional classrooms – all while keeping the building’s existing footprint. To address overcrowding in the cafeteria at AMD, the cafeteria will be expanded into the music rooms on the first floor. At the same time, the music rooms will be moved to the second floor where outdated, stepped lecture classrooms will be converted into music space.
At Ossining High School, where science classes are over capacity, science classrooms will be added to allow access to the district’s award-winning science program, which once again made the front pages last week with the highest number of Intel semifinalists in Westchester County. This honor came just weeks after the state Commissioner of Education John King praised Ossining’s science program and pledged to help replicate its success throughout New York.
In other areas, the proposed capital improvements plan will enable the district to save money by improving energy efficiency and avoiding costly emergency repairs. For example, aging boilers in all but one of the district’s six schools would be replaced with new energy efficient models that permit the burning of gas or fuel. Had a new boiler been in place last year, the district could have saved $183,000 by using natural gas instead of fuel oil.
In addition to other critical infrastructure needs such as repairing the brickwork at AMD, replacing the broken ventilation system in the OHS auditorium and replacing single-pane windows that allow heat loss and drive up fuel costs, the proposal seeks to address life safety issues. Exit signs, emergency lights, fire-rated doors and stairwell enclosures are needed to keep children safe and meet state building codes.
For more information on the capital improvements proposal, go to www.ossiningufsd.org.